Spoons

COLLECTOR: FRANÇOIS BERNARD, 360 ITEMS

Spoons are easy to find all over the world and I’ve been collecting them for 30 years. Spoons reflect the culture of the people who make them, young or old, rich or poor. They have one function, one main shape and so much diversity. They can be a rustic, poor item or a magnificent ancient piece from a skilled silversmith.

It’s a very human artifact — made by people, held by the hand as a tool, introduced into your body to transport something that is generally liquid or semi-solid. It’s a common tool, so what is interesting is its variation throughout time and space, not its evolution. I like this simplicity, the “ordinary” side of the item. It reinforces the extraordinary feeling of the collection. When you gather together all the spoons, the impression becomes extraordinary.

For me collecting is a solitary look at the things around me. It’s a silent practice, a search.
François Bernard, 50, Paris, France

I use my spoons daily, so they’re scattered everywhere in the house. They can also be gathered in one place, for example a pot full of different silver teaspoons that I bring out and put on the table for dessert and it becomes a game to find the one you like best.

I don’t dedicate any time to my collection. They come to me. Friends give me spoons and when I visit a place, a country, a flea market — I find pieces and it’s like a gift from life. When I look at the spoons, they remind me of people, moments, places, cultures and trips. I don’t like collectors. Even if I have friends who collect, we don’t speak about the collections. To collect is a very neurotic and compulsive process, something that isolates you from one very important thing — the random. Collecting for me is to freeze a moment in time, to record it with an object. I only collect when I’m happy, when the moment is positive.